April 29, 2008

Will you "dowry" me!!??!

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:54 am by RJ

Believe me or not folks, but eavesdropping is poppin! You learn how happy you are when you listen a sad story, realize how lucky you are when you listen about a fateful destiny, makes you feel richer when you hear a poor speak and sometimes eavesdropping gives a bit more!

Location: Newark Penn Station
Scene: Waiting for the 5:49PM South Amboy Local train. A boy gets super excited meeting his friend after a long time (I am guessing the “long time” bit of it)

Boy: Hey felli
Girl: Andy, hii!! how have you been?
Andy: I am doing well Sherry! I tried to call you up in the morning today

(Both look very Indian and for some reason I was inquisitive to know their real names. Andy gets a phone call and he answers saying “Anand here” & Sherry still has her work I.D hanging around her neck which read Sherin Yeleswarapu)

Sherin: My flight was delayed by few hours so got in a bit late
Anand: So, how did it all go?
Sherin: The market is down these days, so the trip wasn’t very fruitful
Anand: What do you mean?
Sherin: Dude, the stocks are soaring high and our family can’t afford it. Moreover, its against my ethics to pay and get married
Anand: Oh! it still exists, I mean..uhmmm..is it still a practise?
Sherin: Yea! ask me about it, an engineer is worth a five hundred thousand, a doctor costs around the same, a lawyer is a ten hundred thousand, double the figures for a US degree.
Anand: Aww..thats sad!! Btw who marries a lawyer – just kiddin Sherin!
Sherin: (smiles) Do they want a girl or her money? Its really sad.

I got onto my 5:49 train with a powerful thought – Do they want a girl or her money? Very true, isn’t it? I was wondering how the attitude of a selfish and a selfless mind works. A selfless mind who will leave her parents & family for you, cook food for you, change her last name to yours, accept your habits & mannerisms and many more against a selfish mind who needs all this and money for just getting married!!

Folks, its marriage, so let’s keep it simple! Love for love, trust for trust and compromise for compromise! Let money not intervene our decision of loving or marrying somebody. At the same time gals, if your father wants to gift the son-in-law something huge expensive – we all really love such care! Lol!

Love thy would-be,

April 24, 2008

Just say "No"

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:36 am by RJ

I am always amidst funny incidents. The other day at the train station a beggar (if I can call so) or an extensively money deprived man walked up to me and my friends and said, “Guys, I have to get till Linden. I have 5 dollars and need 2 bucks.” Ahem – I am new to this country, I don’t know how they treat such people here, should I say no, run away from there, smile at him or stay put-a thought that suddenly irrupted into the conscious mind.

I chose to play safe and just nodded my head in an disapproving fashion(READ: Indian fashion), Shai turned his face, so did the other guys standing along. He vociferated, “Guys, just say no! Don’t turn your heads the other way”. At that moment I felt I should have given him the 2 bucks!! A white man (No – this is not a racist term here, a white man is called “a white man”) smiled at me and said, “Did you see that beggar with a f***ing attitude? You ask money and you showing such huge starry attitude”. Phew! I felt a bit relieved! I took the train back home and was thinking to myself, the beggar made a point. If I had no interest of giving him 2 bucks I shouldn’t have ignored his question, rather I should have said, No!

I also think its probably more to the Indians, we take it so personally when we have to say no. It’s not that we lack assertiveness, we just feel its necessary to meet everybody’s expectations. When asked one of my friends, he said, “I feel guilty when I say no” – trust me one of the smart workers at work.

Saying no at work, to your boss, to your relatives, to your parents, to relationships-both which work and don’t work, sometimes to beggars should not be difficult. Also with saying no comes the fact of accepting “no” as an answer.

Say no without feeling guilty, say no with confidence.

April 23, 2008

Do you have children?

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:30 am by RJ

Folks, I am gonna be writing more frequently now – I promise. I have been busy watching IPL and reading “The Reluctant Fundamendalist” by Mohsin Hamid. I have also started studying again and it feels good to be doing something different than the usual.

I wanted to share an interesting conversation that happened during my recent kickboxing class – Damn! I was so confused!

Xena, a japanese girl, petite & strong has been training for 3 years or more. We were engaged in our regular kickboxing drills wherein at one point you just stay out waiting for the other guys to complete their drill. She started talking to me in the class of more than 10 people. I was a regular and picked up the moves pretty well, pretty soon – maybe she kinda liked my determination! I am not being pompous.

Xena: hey, your moves are good & too soon
Me: hey..thanks a ton! Your kicks look powerful too. I am Raj and u..?
Xena: (smiling) I am Xena. Yeah! I am surviving
Me: You taking the class on Thursdays too?
Xena: No, I have a late class and I hate my school
Me: (smiling) You sure do. I work and I like it, moreover, this class and tennis keeps me refreshing
Xena: Not that I am a ubbie, it’s just that I hate the long commute. Again, I have no choice as my daughter learns dancing in Jersey City.
Me: Daughter??..!! (Here’s where I start getting confused & my confusion never ends. Remember folks, I told you she was petite, looked between 18-22)
Xena: Yeah, she keeps me on my toes
Me: How old is she?
Xena: The elder one is 15 and the younger one is 11
Me: (about to faint) Ok —-I had no other choice but to respond as if I expected the answer—- nice, should be fun
Xena: Do you have children?
Me: No, I am not married yet
Xena: (confused) Yea, but do you have children?
Me: (confused to the core) No (by this time my mind was completely shambolic)

I walk away from that place with a confused look and asking myself, “Do I have children? – damn”.

Thats when I remembered my friend telling me when I first entered America. He said, RJ always remember 2 things. First, don’t forget the cross streets when you street park you car. Secondly, if somebody asks you “do you have children?” doesn’t mean you have to be married!! It is highly possible that a girl might say, “these are my kids and they are living with my boyfriend. I am not married yet.”

This is kinda difficult for me to digest because my culture back home in India teaches me to get married and only then have kids. I ain’t complaining about the American culture, I understand they have been following this for ages and the Indian culture maybe anal for them. I am just not comfortable with these questions because I can’t answer them. Lol!

I am Indian by birth, I understand, I respect & follow my culture. I respect all the other cultures in the world too. If you happen to be in the States and face such a question, be prepared to answer!!

Over & out.

April 22, 2008

Whoaa! Indian Premier League

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:15 am by RJ

I have been off for a while now coz’ IPL is addictive. Indian Premier League is a 3 hour high action packed cricket game and I have been hooked on to it day-in & day-out. It’s also a combination of bollywood and cricket – two big jank in India. Even though SRK might deny and say “it’s purely cricket”, there is some sense of bollywood attached to IPL.

My bet is on KKR – Kolkata Knight Riders! I am a Knight Rider!
Long Live IPL, long live cricket! I will be on my writing spree soon!


April 10, 2008

Whose land is it anyway?

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:42 am by RJ

I was born in Srivilliputtur, Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu. Due to my dad’s work which shifted to a new location, we quickly packed our bags and moved to Jamshedpur, Bihar where I did my pre-schooling. We relocated to Mumbai in the late 80s coz’ my dad got transferred to Mumbai. My dad also spent many months working in Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan & Delhi. My question is which state do I belong now? I always felt I am an Indian. The recent Raj Thackerey furore has alarmed me to an extent that, I feel very controversial saying I was born in Tamil Nadu but raised in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Thank God we don’t need a passport and visa to travel to the different states in India. We can kill the issue saying it’s a political gimmick, but that’s not the solution. A similar incident happened with the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka & Tamil Nadu – whose water is it anyway? I can see a day when I have to carry oxygen cylinders to different states coz’ I won’t be allowed to breathe the air that belongs to that state.

Ironic to the incidents happening these days, I started feeling I learnt the wrong pledge in school which states, “India is my country and all Indians are my brothers and sisters…..”. Maybe we should have different pledges for different states. Mine would go this way, “Maharashtra is my state in India, all the water and air in Maharastra belongs to me and I won’t share it with anybody. I would also not be involved in any good deeds happening outside Maharashtra”. Mr. Raj Thackerey, give us a break!!

My friend who hails from Singapore feels, India is a menagerie of hospitable people living together, respecting each others religions, languages, race and feelings. The feeling is mutual for my friend living in United States. When outsiders talk so highly about our country why do we prove them wrong with our immature thoughts? I strongly feel Indianness is in my blood, I believe the phrase “unity in diversity” evolved after experiencing a feeling called India.

Finally, I would like to state that, “Mujhe na states ke naam sunayi dete hain, na dikhayi dete hain. Sirf ek naam sunayi deta hai I-N-D-I-A” ๐Ÿ™‚

Proud to be an Indian!

April 8, 2008

Show me the money!

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:24 am by RJ

One of my friends signature has a line after his name & coordinates which reads “I look at Forbes 100 richest men, if I am not there, I go to work”. Out of curiosity, I asked him, “Do you really mean it? to which he replied, “If I am not there, I would feel I haven’t achieved enough?” I left from that place thinking to myself, “Is money that important in life, that sombody thinks it as a goal to be achieved?”

As usual, I started reading through bulletins, talking to friends, read almost everything on how people perceive the importance of money. I came across a quote which goes like this – “When you have all the money in the world, you fail to recognize youself & when you have no money with you others fail to recognize you!” – anonymous. Now this quote strikes a balance between the importance of money & perhaps, other things. Other things could be family, friends, work, health etc. I asked my friends 2 different questions.

1) Does money make you happy? – the responses were in negation when pitted against family, friends etc.

2) Does money make you unhappy? (Does the financial problems concern you? is the right way of interpreting this question)- A firm “yes” came out as an answer from most of my friends. Out of the 10 folks I spoke to all prioritized (most important – important) in the order of family, friends and money. Nobody said money is not important :). My dear friend Kurt believed family+friends+money = peace. I couldn’t agree more!

Let’s not get lost in the process of earning money that we forget ourselves, our family and friends. Money can buy everything but happiness.

Earn enough, spend sensibly, care more, he happy!

April 7, 2008

Promises to make!

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:00 am by RJ

I wanted to make two promises after too much complaints from all you guys.

1 – I will keep my posts smaller, so no long posts from now on ๐Ÿ™‚
2 – I’m no Guru and so I won’t be preachy (or preachy-pox!!)

It’s all. Keep reading and appreciate all your valuable comments.

Quick note on life after death. I always wondered what happens to life after death. What remains? what goes? who stays? who runs? what happens to the mind & who will cry when you die? Surprisingly, I found this book in Crossword, with the same title. Who will cry when you die by Robin Sharma is one of those reads which inspires you, motivates you to do more, makes you feel energetic! It’s a self-help book, so all you fiction folks stay away! A line to remember from this wonderful book.

When I was growing up, my father said something to me I will never forget, “Son, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries while you rejoice”
-Robin Sharma, Who will cry when you die?

Folks, if you get a chance grab this book. It’s quiet an interesting read. I am working on my next short, non-preachy post, ciao soon!

Let’s live “our” life,

April 6, 2008

In dino…

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:41 am by RJ

It’s all about loving yourself in the first place. Reading all posts by my preachy-pox friend makes me think just that. It’s really strange how things fall in place once you start loving yourself. You start caring about everyone and everything around you, you start observing things that you generally wouldn’t, you start doing simple things, which you otherwise wouldn’t have done and these are the things that make you feel better, not because what you did was huge, but because such a seemingly simple thing still made a world of difference to someone.

I am keeping this post abstract for a simple reason that many of you would have started having these experiences after having read the earlier posts that my dear buddy has put on board and that you all would personalize this post by including your own experiences between the lines.

Signing off with a few lines from a song that is one of my favorites!!

In dino….dil mera….mujhse hai…keh raha…
tu……khwaab saja…tu……jee le zara…
Hai tujhse bhi ijaazat, karle tu bhi mohabbat…


April 3, 2008

Buoyant Spirits

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:41 am by RJ

I have been doing a lot of new things these days – I eat healthy, hit the gym, take the kickboxing sessions, practice tennis, write blogs and realised that I am more peppy. I could only wish that this insouciant behaviour is more blessed till end of this year and for years to come :). I am happy, perky and feel good. I sure have my one-off days but looking at those numbers I am content. So hows does one feel good or bad? What makes me say “I am feeling good today” or “I am a bit low”? After being bit observant, I have listed down a few things that might help some of you and I would like to know what you folks feel. Friends have also suggested their views on this topic. (Thanks guys, much appreciated!) All we are concerned about is the “feeling good” part; who anyways cares about “feeling low”? Feeling good solely depends on doing things for oneself, doing things for loved ones & people in general and doing things for the society. The later two makes you feel good by itself. I wil try and write about these three phases to achieve a non-blue funk state of mind!

It’s about onself, it’s about others, it’s about the society & it’s about feeling good!

The working week is all about not enough sleep so you promise yourself to sleep like a maniac on saturdays & sundays. Ironically, most of the saturdays I get up at 6am just to hear a digital dolby effect of an irritating tune. Ahh…I realised, it’s my roommate Shank snoring in the next room. Shank dude wait till the next kickboxing session! So here I am, saturday morning, 6am, up & lively as a bouncing ball. I browse through the address book of my cell phone and find names of friends to whom I haven’t spoken in ages. I start calling everybody and we chat about everything we had missed out and this I do till I reach the last name on the address book. Sometimes I thank, sometimes I ask them to forgive me, sometimes I speak about the weird dreams, and sometimes silence speaks everything. By the end of this exercise, you feel good that you got connected to your friends from school, college, tuitions, guitar classes etc. Trust me guys it helps. For those “not-much-speaking types” call me, I will do the talking ๐Ÿ™‚

Talking about sleep and getting up reminded me of something which I find quiet funny in the later part of the day. I make sure to look at my face as soon as I get up. As convenient as it could get, there’s a mirror right across my bed. So as I get up, I face the mirror – how cool is that! I try different hairstyles and think to myself, “damn, I am smart!” (Yes, sometimes at 5am when I sleep a bit early) I don’t want to change this habit coz’ feel it kinda’ boosts me in some way. C’mon let’s accept it, who doesnt want to look good? Look good to feel good.

The other simplest and proven way to feel good is to shop. Yes, even after the damage you would be happy. Shop for gadgets, clothes, things of your interest. You can always pamper youself! Shopping can nerf the bulge on the back pocket but will surely bring a smile on your face.

The other day, Ruben was a bit sad and low and constantly kept saying, “Why it has to happen to me? & Why me always?”. I didn’t know what to say and just stayed there with her for coffee. Our common friend, Aila dropped in a bit later and after listening to Ruben, told her something which I felt was motivating and inspiring. She said, “Instead of asking yourself why me?, ask what did I learn? How should I find a solution?” (I reacted in a way that I wanted to say the same thing..heh :)..but…) It was then I realised, asking a “Why me?” was very simple but wont give you a solution, rather ask “What did I learn?”. Ruben felt better in no time and I felt good coz’ I learnt something I could use in the future. Thanks Aila.

How many of us think not being rich enough is a major cause for not feeling good? According to a survey, 60% feel the moolah is not enough for us to achieve the materialistic things we crave for. Let me infuse a statement I read in the internet, a statement that tells us everything. โ€œThere are still around 1 billion people living at the margins of survival on less than US$1 a day, with 2.6 billion (40 percent of the worldโ€™s population) living on less than US$2 a day.โ€ Food, an ingredient for survival is still inaccessible for 40-50% of the population. Do we still think not being rich is a cause for not feeling good? For once, let’s feed one poor person who cannot afford to buy his meal. The feeling is nonpareil. Try it once and I am sure it will be inculcated as a habit.

Ah..buying food reminds me of charity. Charity is such a noble thing to do, I have always wondered, are people scared of loosing all money by involving in charity? Folks – it’s not gambling! Charity needs a big heart and not all the money in the world. Let me share a thought – let’s give 1% of what we have. Just 1%. So if I earn $100 every month, I will give $1 to the needy. Hows that? On a larger scale, a person earning $10000 every month would give $100. The needy may be old-age homes, orphanages, the gate-keepers kid etc. Let’s help them. Its not much for good feeling – many pay the doctors for it!

We all tip the waiter in the restaurants. Sometimes willingly, sometimes forcefully :), sometimes as a routine. Ever thought about complimenting the chef who cooked your food? How good the person would feel when you tell him, “Buddy, you just rocked; I haven’t had such a dinner in ages and your food reminded me of my mom’s food”. That smile on the chef’s face is a million pats on your back. The chef would just say “Thank you” and continue with his work to serve the
next customer. You would drive all the way back feeling good.

Few other small things that I would like to mention is plant a tree on your birthday or on all occasions, vote – it’s your duty, love one and all, smile at strangers, guys – respect girls & their emotions, offer a place to sit to the old, pregnant women, women with a child on her arms, donate blood, fight against injustice. Most of these items mentioned may be duties you should do, but if you never got started, it’s never too late.

Last but not the least and the most important, be a good son and a good daughter to your parents. Call your dad today and say, “Thank you dad for all the million things you did and never asked to pay back, thanks for all the million times you waved to me with care while dropping me at school, thanks for all the million times you just held me and walked in the park talking to me about how to lead a dignified life. Thanks dad for everything”, and your mom, “Maa, first things first, thanks for the food, thanks for sacrificing your dreams so that I could achieve mine, thanks for keeping a million secrets and not leaking them to dad coz’ you never wanted him to scold me, thanks for staying the entire night up when I was down with fever & thank you for all the love and trust you showered upon me when I made a mistake, when I failed to succeed and when I reached heights, thanks for everything my sweetest mom”. Folks after this phone call the feeling is as if you touched the moon. Believe me or not, words cannot describe this feeling, emotions fail too. Its something else – yet to be described in the dictionary!

Let philanthropy be a routine! Peace, love & empathy – Remember Kurt Cobain ๐Ÿ™‚

April 2, 2008

English Premier League Weekend Report – 30th March

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:14 am by RJ

Well folks another round of fixtures have passed in the EPL and we sure have a title race thats most likely to go down to the wire and our first relegation casualty from the EPL being Derby County.

Manchester United consolidated their position at the top of the table with a crushing 4-0 demolition of the hapless Aston Villa. Cristiano Ronaldo got the ball rolling with his customary goal in the 18th minute of play with a stunning back flick that surely has to go down as one of the most audacious efforts on goal. What more can this precocious Portuguese magician come up with? 35 goals from 35 starts! And that too for a midfield player. Looks like we will all run out of superlatives fairly soon if he continues to maintain this sort of devastating form. Ronaldo then turned provider in the 33rd minute with peach of a cross from the right wing that Carlos Tevez made no mistake in burying in the back of the net. At this point it was vintage Manchester United who were threatening each time they came forward. Aston Villa to their credit had a few forays at the Manchester United defence but by far and large were absolutely over run by the red machine.

The second half carried on the same vein as Man Utd powered forward in search of the 3rd killer goal and duly got in the 53rd minuted when another piece exquisite skill created the opening for Wayne Rooney to round the goal and score his first goal in six games. The relief of getting over this mini scoring drought in his face was there for all to see. All Man Utd fans will now be hoping that this is the beginning of an avalanche of goals from the England striker to fire the red devils to glory in both the EPL and the champions league. However it was Cristiano Ronaldo with an audacious flick that split 2 Aston Villa defenders paving the way for Rooney.
Rooney again got into the scoresheet in the 70th with a simple tap in after great work again from Ronaldo from the flanks.

At this point it was just damage limitation for Aston Villa and how they were grateful that the score ended just 4-0 where it could have been much worse.

Manchester United now sit comfortably on 76 points 5 clear of Chelsea who again maintained their challenge with a dull 1-0 win against an unlucky Middlesborough side who hit the woodwork 3 times in the second half. Ricardo Carvalho scored a rare goal in the 6th minute and that was all a lacklustre chelsea could muster. However yet again Avram Grant’s team have proved that despite not playing well, they are effective enough to get a result when it matters.

Arsenal arguably produced the performance of the weekend to stay in the title race with an astonishing come from behind victory against a shell shocked Bolton who let slip a 2-0 half time lead to lose 3-2. The way that Arsenal pulled this result was all the more exciting as they were down to 10 men, Alou Diaby sent off for dangerous challenge on El Hadj Diouf. William Gallas Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas in the last minute of play got the goals as Arsene Wenger’s exciting young team proved that they were no pushovers. It was truly a wonderful performance coupled with grit and determination in adverse conditions. So Kudos to Arsenal!!!!!!!!
For Bolton, it sends them deeper into relegation trouble and boss Gary Megson might be well advised to start preparing for life outside the top flight next season.

Liverpool strengthen their grip on 4th place with 1-0 win over merseyside neighbours Everton in a highly charged merseyside derby. Fernando Torres scoring early in the 7th minute to give beliguered boss Rafa Benitez a much needed respite after the debacle against Manchester United a week earlier. One needs to just wonder where this Liverpool side would be if not for the goals of Torres and midfield genius of Steve Gerrad. With a team full of international quality, how they have not put up a challenge for the title is a mind blowing mystery.In any case the result was much needed as they are now strong favourites to land the final champions league position.

At the bottom of the table, Derby County became the first side to get relegated from EPL when they could only muster a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers Fulham. The draw meant that it was mathematically impossible for Derby to escape the drop with 4th from bottom Birmingham also winning. With just 11 points all season they are 19 points behind Birmingham City with just 18 points to play for from the remaining 6 matches.

Newcastle eased their relegation fears considerbly with a thumping 4-1 win away at Tottenham Hotspurs for whom the wheels have come off of late after their Carling Cup Win. Darrent Bent gave Spurs an early lead but right on half time Nicky Butt equalised for the magpies. Newcastle came out during the 2nd half like men possessed and scored early when Geremi curled in a sublime free kick from the edge of the box. Further goals from Michael Owen and Obefemi Martins provided Kevin Keegan with hos first back to back win since taking charge in January. King Kev’s attacking philosophy seems like its beginning to reap dividends as Newcastle are 9 points of clear of 17th places Birmingham City. Is Kevin Keegan on his way to creating another team similar to the 90s when the magpies were easily the toast of the premiership with their all action style attacking football? For entertainment sake, lets hope so.

Well, another week of thrills and spills have gone by in the EPL. Hope you enjoyed this bulletin and Watch out for this space for reports on the coming weekends’ matches.

Ciao for now
Sporty Shank